“I won’t miss you” read the subject line of my classmate Andrea Di Grado’s e-mail. Andrea was leaving for Brazil on an exchange programnme and I was sure he did not mean what he said and was only being his usual witty self.
I smiled for a moment, and thought about my own exchange programme and my stint in Milan. Two months have passed in the SCM programme here at MIT, but I travel back in time when I see such mails and Facebook posts.
The first term at MIP began with some Italian language classes (the school helps all international students to learn Italian) and Harvard online pre-courses on statistics and financial accounting. Coursework aside, May involved a lot of getting to know each other which culminated with our outdoor event at Como.
By this time we had blended well and our classroom, ‘Aula 1.1’ became noisy with a lot of banter and fun during lunch and coffee breaks. The most interesting lectures of June were the ones on personality development conducted by Dr Filippo Passerini, president global business services and chief information officer of Procter & Gamble. He used practical examples from his experience to highlight some simple yet often-overlooked practices, invited class participation and encouraged us to recall what was discussed the previous day. When I hear someone say “less is more” or “know your audience” his lectures strike my mind immediately. July passed very quickly as we worked to finish our group assignments and practised our group presentations.
July was also one of the most anxious periods for me as I did not know whether I would be able to join my class here at MIT. I had to leave for India abruptly to receive my US visa; the trip did burn a hole in my pocket but I am glad that I could see my son and celebrate our fifth wedding anniversary.
I did not have the pleasure of bidding a good farewell to my classmates like Andrea did. I might not be able to meet some of them when I go back next September as they will have graduated by then, but the wonderful moments I shared with them will remain forever in my memories. I made 40 new friends here, will meet another 40 next year; three different groups of friends, two different countries, two degrees and an internship, all in 20 months, what more can I ask for?